Books — Hooking Up And Staying Together

Questionable advice on matters of love

By Amy Diaz

Love is difficult.

Take for example Jennifer Lehr, author of the autobiography Ill-Equipped for a Life of Sex, A Memoir  (Regan Books, 2004).

She’s been looking for love in the Carrie Bradshaw sense of the phrase for most of her teen and 20-something years and now, at 28, she’s finally found the perfect man.

Perfect except that they argue over money a lot and their sex life is lousy (both in terms of quantity and apparent quality). The result is some truly icksome description (you know, other people’s sex is seldom sexy) about what sounds like a rather painful situation that most people would probably solve with a break up but which Jennifer decides to solve with marriage. Yes, that is exactly how to make a shaky relationship better.

Though the book ends with the happy couple still “happily” coupled, the overall effect is of a life lived gingerly, though their enter relationship was built on eggshells. The book itself engenders the same squirmy feelings you get when you find yourself at dinner with a fighting couple. I had to put the book down a couple of times to let my own nervousness subside.

Of course, maybe the problems of the Lehrs could have been fixed if they had just read This Book Will Change Your Love Life by Benrik (Plume Book, 2004).

A workbook of baby’s-first-memories-type propotions, this marital aid will help you document every detail of your loving committed relationship—from the areas of your partner’s body that require more attention to hygenie to a list of extramarital partners.

How committed are you really? Check out the “Would you still love me if...” chart on page 152. You and your partner can discuss whether sex changes, poverty, the discovery of a relationship to Hitler or a sudden interest in campaigning for a return of slavery would put a damper on your feelings.

And then there’s the oh-so-helpful logbook, where you and your partner can confine your fights to one-line statements written statements.

Clearly this is a book necessary for every couple—married, engaged or just together for a one-night stand.

But maybe a novelty book isn’t the way to secure true love.

Try food!

Cooking to Hook Up, The Bachelor’s Date-Night Cookbook  (By Ann Marie Michaels and Drew Campbell, The Globe Pequot Press, 2004) is the love child of writers/foodies who, once married, now use their assorted experiences to help bachelors snag any girl by preparing the right dish.

Is the lady of your dreams a foodie? Woo her with kiwi and cucumber gazpacho and manchego ice cream. Maybe you met the latest love of your life at Pilates. Wine and dine her with a chicken in orange sauce or low-carb crab cakes.

Despite the cutesy presentation which reduces all girls to one of 10 types, the book does a good job of breaking down impressive dishes into simple-to-build parts and elevates the novice chef above the defrosting-frozen-food basics.

And who knows, if all goes well you could be playing “Would you still love me if ...” by the time you read the chocolate-covered strawberry dessert.

- Amy Diaz

2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH